Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw won Sunday's Food City 500, a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Bristol, Tenn.
BRISTOL, Tenn. — Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw won a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway for the first time after defending series champion Brad Keselowski struggled on the final restart Sunday.
Kahne, 32, triumphed on his 19th attempt at the 0.533-mile track. He has 15 victories in the Sprint Cup Series, NASCAR’s top level of competition.
“This is one of those tracks that, as a driver, you feel like you really need to win at,” Kahne said. “We’ve been trying for a long time. To pull it off, I feel, is a big accomplishment for our guys and myself. There are so many things that are thrown at you when you come to this place. We’d been fast here other times and not able to finish the deal.”
Kahne, who was 14th in points after the first three races of the season, moved into a tie for seventh place in the standings.
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Keselowski leads in points and Greg Biffle of Vancouver, Wash., is in fifth place. Biffle finished 11th of 43 Sunday.
Kahne took the lead on a final restart with 40 laps left and beat runner-up Kyle Busch by 1.7 seconds. Keselowski, who was third, knew he was in trouble shortly after the final restart.
“I don’t think I had anything for Kasey. I don’t know if anyone did,” Keselowski said. “He was so good through the middle, really everywhere. He was kind of in a league of his own.”
Kahne gave credit to his team, led by crew chief Kenny Francis.
“It’s fun to come to pit road and break even or even gain spots,” Kahne said. “The guys have just been nailing it on pit road.”
Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano, former Joe Gibbs Racing teammates, exchanged words after the race — in person and on Twitter — because Hamlin spun Logano as Logano was racing for the lead.
“I meant to run in to him,” Hamlin said. “I didn’t mean to spin him out, but his day was fine. We finished bad (23rd) and he finished bad (17th). It’s even.”
Keselowski and Hamlin said contact between Hamlin and Logano prevented Keselowski from breaking away at the restart. “The 22 (Logano) ran into me and shoved me into (Keselowski),” Hamlin said. “Sorry to (Keselowski), but I was the pinball in the sandwich.”
Logano was pulled away from Hamlin’s car by crew members for both sides after the race. “They’re fighting! It’s Bristol!” driver Clint Bowyer yelled.
Of Hamlin, Logano said, “That’s a freaking genius behind the wheel of the 11 car — probably the worst teammate I’ve ever had.”
• Kimi Raikkonen won Formula One’s season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The driver from Finland pulled off a two-stop strategy while his six nearest rivals each needed three stops; Raikkonen took the lead for good on Lap 43 of 58. Fernando Alonso was second.
• Antron Brown won the Top Fuel category at the NHRA Gatornationals in Gainesville, Fla.
Other winners were Johnny Gray (Funny Car), Allen Johnson (Pro Stock) and Hector Arana Jr. (Pro Stock Motorcycle).
• A crash at Marysville Raceway Park in California on Saturday killed a race-car owner and the young cousin of the teen driver whose vehicle careened off the track before it struck the two victims, authorities said Sunday.
Dale Wondergem Jr., 68, and Marcus Johnson, 14, were in the pit area when they were hit by a winged sprint car driven by Chase Johnson, 17, who was not injured in the collision. The crash occurred during warmup laps.